Dispatches from the Gulf: A New Documentary




Washington, DC – On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform exploded, taking eleven lives and, over the course of 87 days, releasing more than 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The disaster was the largest oil spill in U.S. history and put thousands of communities, millions of citizens, and a vital ecosystem in serious jeopardy.

Produced by Emmy Award®-winning filmmakers Marilyn and Hal Weiner, this illuminating new documentary, Dispatches From The Gulf, follows a team of international scientists as they investigate the oil spill’s effect on the world’s ninth largest body of water. The group’s ongoing, ultimate goal is to discover new and better ways to mitigate and cope with future spills. Their collective studies have ultimately become the largest coordinated oceanographic research endeavor in history. “I go out…and try to figure out who’s winning this war of nature versus oil,” summarizes Dr. Chris Reddy, senior scientist of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, one participating organization.

Narrated by Academy Award® winner, Matt Damon, Dispatches From The Gulf is the newest episode in the Journey To Planet Earth environmental television series and considers the socio-cultural implications, as well as scientific findings. The documentary examines the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on local communities, from members of the tourism industry to families who rely on seafood such as shrimp and crabs for their livelihood. “If ever a light bulb went off in all of our minds, it was that our economy is totally dependent on a clean, safe, useable environment,” stresses Mayor Robert Craft of Gulf Shores, Alabama. “That is still our biggest concern.”

The film also captures instances of exciting innovation: Biologists and oceanographers use remotely operated vehicles and manned submersibles to study the effects of the oil on the ocean floor. Chemists and engineers design new laboratory techniques to understand the impact of the spill on fish species and how chemical dispersants interact with oil.

The Dispatches From The Gulf initiative also includes a robust interactive website (https://dispatchesfromthegulf.com/) with leaders’ guides and educational materials. The outreach initiative also involves disseminating DVDs to schools, science centers, and environmental organizations, and partnerships with community groups and museums for exclusive screenings.

Dispatches From The Gulf is made possible by a generous grant from the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI), with additional funding from the Wallace Genetic Foundation and the Farvue Foundation.

The Dispatches From The Gulf movie trailer is available online at: https://youtu.be/p_yD9ABHWdA.

About Journey To Planet Earth

Journey To Planet Earth is an award-winning television series that dramatizes new ways of looking at the delicate relationship between people and the world they inhabit. It is designed to help viewers understand the complexities of the most important environmental issues of the 21st century. Through an interdisciplinary approach, these programs reach beyond the physical sciences and draw connections to politics, economics, sociology, and history.

About Matt Damon

Matt Damon has been honored for his work on both sides of the camera, most recently winning a Golden Globe Award® for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy for “The Martian.” He is nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Actor in a Leading Role for the same film. Earlier in his career, Damon won an Academy Award® for Best Screenplay and received an Oscar® nomination for Best Actor, both for his breakthrough feature “Good Will Hunting.”

Damon and close friend Ben Affleck formed Pearl Street Films to create stories in film and television. Pearl Street produces “Project Greenlight” for HBO and recently co-produced the theatrical film “Promised Land.” Jennifer Todd (“Memento,” “Alice in Wonderland”) serves as President of the company, which has a first look deal with Warner Brothers Pictures.

Damon is the co-founder of Water.org, a non-profit organization that works to bring safe drinking water and sanitation options to the billions of people on the planet who lack access.

About Marilyn & Hal Weiner

Marilyn and Hal Weiner have produced, written, and directed more than 225 documentaries and several public television series, including “Journey to Planet Earth,” “Women at Work,” and “The World of Cooking” and won Emmy® Awards for “The Earth Summit Pledge” and “Streets of Sorrow.” They’ve also produced three feature films: Family Business, The Imagemaker, and K2.

About the Funders

The Gulf of Mexico Research Institute (GoMRI) is dedicated to investigating the effect of oil spills on the environment and public health. Knowledge accrued will be applied to restoration and to improving the long-term environmental health of the Gulf of Mexico.

The Wallace Genetic Foundation focuses on improving the quality of life for all people through long-term environmental conservation.

The Farvue Foundation is dedicated to finding solutions for a more sustainable environment.

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Press Contact: Nora Zelevansky